View Safeguarding Procedures View Safeguarding Procedures

4.1.4 Foster Carer Adoption Procedure

RELATED CHAPTERS

Financial Support in Adoption - Guidance for Adoptive Parents

Financial Support in Adoption - Guidance for Social Workers

AMENDMENT

In June 2015, this chapter was amended slightly. Section 2.3, Assessment Process was revised to read that Foster Carers who have a recent (last 12 months) Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, then this can be used in adoption.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Application Process
  3. Approval
  4. Action Required if FCA Application is not being Supported


1. Introduction

This procedure should be followed where a foster carer expresses an interest in adopting a child/ren in their care.


2. Application Process

2.1 Initial enquiry

Where foster carers express interest in adopting a child/children in their care, they should contact the adoption service advice line on (0113) 3952072 to request to be considered.

The Duty Officer will complete an initial enquiry form (FCA) and forward this electronically to the Business Support Manager for processing. A record should be kept in the duty log and a copy of the completed form saved electronically at G:\FOSTADOPT\ Adoption Duty\Foster carer Adoption.

This will be recorded on Mosaic and forwarded to the relevant Team Manager for allocation.

2.2 Initial home visit

The allocated Adoption Officer will contact the child's Social Worker to discuss the circumstances and area team view, before arranging a visit to the foster carer (which may or may not be undertaken jointly with the SW. The Adoption Officer will ascertain the views of the Fostering Officer (FO) and Fostering Team Manager (FTM) and agree the implications for further fostering if the adoption progresses. The FO/FTM will be asked to confirm this in writing and the information will then be shared with the foster carer at the visit, and confirmed in the initial home visit report.

It is the SW’s responsibility to establish the views of their TM and SDM and confirm these in writing to the AO before proceeding.

The foster carers expectations regarding financial support in adoption must be discussed at the visit and the department's position made clear. The outcome of this discussion should be confirmed and clearly recorded in the initial home visit report.

Where extraordinary financial support is requested to support the foster carer adoption, agreement in principle to this must be obtained by the child’s social worker, from the Finance Panel, before the foster carer/s commit to proceeding with the adoption plan. Details of these financial arrangements will then be provided to adoption panel in the APR report.

If following the visit it is agreed to support the adoption application, the AO will write up the visit and pass to the ATM with a clear recommendation. A letter (FCA Letter 1) will be sent by the Service Manager Adoption, confirming the financial support involved. Once the foster carer/s has confirmed that they wish to proceed on this basis, submission of the Registration of Interest form will be invited, consenting to checks and references being requested, and to medicals being arranged. A letter will be sent confirming receipt of the ROI form and explaining the next stages in the process (FCA Letter2).The application will then be processed in the usual way.

2.3 Assessment process

An adoption assessment file will be set up for allocation, and attendance at adoption preparation groups will be arranged. This is a requirement in all cases unless applicants have previously attended. It will not be necessary to wait for checks to be returned, and the FCA assessment can be allocated immediately, but can only progress once the SHOBPA decision has been made and the Placement Order application has been lodged.

Where foster carers have a recent (last 12 months) Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, then this can be used in adoption. Medicals should be requested at the outset to minimise delay.

It is expected that foster carer adoption assessments will be completed in four months total where possible. Approved foster carers may be able to proceed straight to Stage Two and receive a tailored assessment to take account of such factors as their previous experience of adopting or fostering and the needs of the child they have previously adopted/fostered.


3. Approval

The completed assessment (and match) will be considered by adoption panel in the usual way. It is important that fostering provide a report for adoption panel detailing the carer’s current and future fostering status and their view of the proposed adoption. Once the panel has recommended the adoption approval and match, and this has been approved by the Agency Decision Maker a formal planning meeting must be held. The meeting should include the foster carer/adopter, SW, FO and AO who have completed the assessment. An adoption placement plan should be drawn up in the usual way and all necessary notifications will need to be sent. The SW will need to ensure that the placement status of the child is changed on Mosaic from the date of the agency decision.

A change of circumstance foster carer review will also need to be completed and submitted to fostering panel for consideration.


4. Action Required if FCS Application is not being Supported

Where the FCA application is not being supported, the ATM will arrange a meeting between workers and managers from the adoption, fostering and social work teams, to discuss the reasons for this and confirm the recommendation. The purpose of this meeting will be to review information about the needs of the child, the circumstances of the carers, and the advantages and risks of considering the carers as prospective adopters. A clear record will be kept of this meeting, and passed to the Service Manager Adoption who will then write to the foster carer giving clear reasons why supporting their interest in adopting is not being recommended, and advising that they may wish to seek independent legal advice.

End